Michael Jordan Used to Spit on Food So No One Else Would Eat It

In Monday’s Hot Clicks: MJ’s immature tactic for making sure no one else ate his food, Stuart Scott’s classic “Flu Game” 'SportsCenter' segment and more.
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A simple glare would have been enough

The biggest “revelation” from the final two installments of The Last Dance (although, it was many people suspected all along) was that Michael Jordan’s ailment in the famous 1997 Finals “Flu Game” was actually food poisoning

Jordan, his trainer Tim Grover and driver George Koehler describe in the doc that they were sitting in MJ’s hotel room the night before Game 5 and Jordan had not had dinner, so they started calling every restaurant in town. They were staying in the small resort town of Park City, about 30 minutes from downtown Salt Lake, and most places were closed at 10:30 p.m., except for one. They ordered a pizza for Jordan, and five guys showed up to deliver it. 

Grover takes this as evidence that the pizza had been tampered with, which is obviously ridiculous. Isn’t it more likely that the employees working the late shift at a second-rate pizza shop in a sleepy Utah mountain town just wanted to catch a glimpse of Michael Jordan in the flesh to spice up their Tuesday night?

The other question is why no one else in the room got sick if there's an entire pizza sitting there and three guys with MJ. Jordan says that he was the only one to touch the pie. 

But how? ESPN’s David Jacoby said on his Jalen & Jacoby Aftershow with Jalen Rose and director Jason Hehir that there’s no way three guys can be in a hotel room with a pizza and only one of them touches it. It’s a fair point, but Hehir has a compelling—and frankly disturbing—explanation.

Michael Jordan spit on the pizza. 

That’s not the least bit surprising if you know Michael Jordan, and Hehir says it’s not the only story out there about Jordan spitting on food to claim it as his own. 

Indeed, Wright Thompson’s 2013 ESPN The Magazine profile of Jordan mentions MJ doing the same thing with cinnamon rolls. 

Back when they used to shoot a lot of commercials, Jordan's security team would wait for him in his trailer while he was on set. A woman named Linda cooked Michael's meals, and he loved cinnamon rolls. She'd bake a tray and bring it to him. When it came time to film, he'd see the guards eyeing the cinnamon rolls and he'd walk over and spit on each one, to make sure nobody took his food.

Maybe if MJ hadn’t hocked a loogie on the pizza, one of the other guys could have taken a bite and said, “Hey, Mike, this doesn’t taste right” and Jordan wouldn’t have gotten sick. It would have helped the 1997 Bulls, but we never would have gotten that classic footage of Jordan getting iced down on the bench and carried off the floor by Scottie Pippen. 

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Email dan.gartland@si.com with any feedback or follow me on Twitter for approximately one half-decent baseball joke per week. Bookmark this page to see previous editions of Hot Clicks and find the newest edition every day. By popular request I’ve made a Spotify playlist of the music featured here. Visit our Extra Mustard page throughout each day for more offbeat sports stories.